Text: I Corinthians 15; 13
"In a word there are three things that last for ever; faith, hope and love;
but the gres 1 f 1] " ve. "
I imagine thai he: ' rni: nave at one time or
another stood looking into a lake or pond, or another body of water, ' - ^il if we
tossed a pebble into the water It caused ripples and our reflection became dis-
torted. Or perhaps ve went to^the room of mirrors in an amusement park and in
F/f. flfii^*/*.f At k**>S v/r^Tte* OF &w 'F o-r
each mirror we took on a different shape. ^But the real reflection* is the one we
see when we look into a normal mirror when combing our hair or shaving. This is
the reflection that others see when they meet us. That sort of reflection do
we show to others? Can they see a .reflection of love? Or do they see one of
hatred, or anger, or indifference to others? Then we use a guage for our lives
we cannot use any other guage than that of Christ. We must ask ourselves, "What
would He have us do?" "How would He react?" If we do this we soon find that love
begins to take precedence in our thinking. Jesus taught a Gospel of love. Other
folk may try to tell us otherwise and would have us show hatred instead. But if
I read the Bible correctly He not only taught a Gospel of love, but He lived it.
It's true He used force to drive the money changers out of the Temple, but if
we read closely we soon see the love, reflect from Him. Paul interpreted the life
of Christ in this way also. We read of many references Paul makes to love. The
best known is the scripture we read this morning. At the end of the chapter in
the last verse he states, "In a word there are three things that last for ever:
faith, hope and love; but the greatest of them. all Is love."
Thomas Huxley was an English biologist and educator and an avowed
agnostic. He was axgrwarK at a house party and stayed the weekend as a guest along
with some other people. When Sunday morning arrived everyone made preparations
to go to churchs Mr. Huxley approached one of the guests, a nan known to have a
very simple but radiant Christian faith. He said to him, "Suppose you don't go to
church today. Tupoose you stay at hone and tell me quite simply what your Christ-
ian faith means to you and why you are a Christian." "But," said the man, "you
could demolish my arguements In an instant, I '& not clever enough to argue with
you e " Huxley said gentljr, "I don't want to argue with you; I just want you to
tell me sinroly what this Christ means to you." And so the man stayed home from
church, and he told him as simply as he could oi his faith In Christ and what
.it meant to him. When he had finished there were tears in the great agnostics
eyes and he said, "I would give my right hand, if only I could believe that*"
It wasn't clever' argument that moved him. It was the simple presentation of
Chris-!: tha't tore at his heart o But equally important is the fact that the man
who stayed away from church did so at a sacrifice, A sacrifice he felt he had
to make for Christ. This is love as expressed in the giving of ourselves to
ers. n his is a pert of the reflection we should each ho casting. Sacrificing
ourselves by sharing i Ives with others. Too often we think of ;: rifiee as
only being done in the church. But tills is not so. To sacrifice i ean£ t< giv u -
something. '<c all lead busy lives and keep tight schedules, but we should never
become so busy that we cannot give someone who needs it, a moment of our time.
I know that nothing can be more irritating or frustrating than to come hibme fro:.:
a very difficult day and find so ' lg or someo ;hat rnuirei
- ' se. But bliia a; mst 1: graciuosly and uncomplaining if we want to be
Christian in action as well as in name. This is the mark of love.
To keep our reflection from becoming distorted as it does when
looking into a defective mirror we need to learn to give of our substance. Any-
one can give a donation or a gift. But the real secret is in how it Is given.
A man was walking down the street and he was stopped hj a beggar. He reached
into his pocket end discovered he had no meney. . But he reached out his hand
and he said, "My brother I EHB2ig±xxxyzxxHX2:sxxgxxxzxxxx2x can give you nothing
but this. " The beggar said, "You called me brother, you took my hand, t^at too
is a gift." Our giving should always be from the Heart.. A certain woman* answered
her door one day and there on her doorstep was a beggar looking for a handout,
ohe got her purse and when she did she discovered that all she had was a large
bill. She said to him, "All I have is tnis ±ar t ^e bill, but I need a loaf of
bread, go and buy the loaf of bread and bring me back the change." The man went
to the store and retur/Hftd and gave her the money. She gave him a small sum of
it and he took it and looked at her with tear filled <@yes and told her, "It isn"
the money, it's the way you trusted me. ITo one ever trusted me like that and I
can't thank you enough." This woman took a risk that perhaps only a fool woild
take, but she gave him more than money. She gave him of herself. The comfortable
way to discharge our duty as a church member or a private citizen in giving is
to give a sum of money and get it done and over with. But in true giving the
giver must also give of himself as well as his substance. Because then it is
given in love and not as an obligation. Paul said very aptly, "I may dole out
all I possess, or even give my body to be burned, but if I have not love, I am
none the better." This is the secret, to include love in all of our giving. To
do this means that we impart something of ourselves as well as the gift. I
think we have all heard or said the scripture that states, "0-od loves a cheerful
^iver. " Paul stated this in 2 Cor. chapter 9- .ve are blessed when we give all
things in love, whether it be giving thanks for our blessings or giving our
money for needy causes. Perhaps our reflection is never more evident than when
we give. For too often we all are prone to want to hang on to our possessions
and as mUeh of our money as we can. This is only natural. But it is when we
give of them In the proper spirit that we shine with a beautiful reflection.
But If we give half heartedly we also shine /out rather SEHxisxniHX dully.
The reflection we cast, must^ shine forth daily al ' lfU . It cannot
he just something we talk about on Sunday and forget the rest of the week. It
must be lived seven days a week. Abraham Lincoln chose a man to be his secretary
of war who treated him with nothing but contempt,, The nan was Edward K. Stanton.
There Is a large statue of him in front of the court house in Steubenville Ohio
and each tine I pass it I think of this little story. . r. Stanton -ooked fun at
Mr. Lincoln and be called him the original gorilla. At this time there was a
famous Frenchman who was in Africa hunting gorillsffor zoos throughout the world
and Stanton said this man was a fool to o to Africa when all he had to do was
go to Springfield and he could capture the biggest one. He called him a, "low
TJunning clown." To all of this Mr. Lincoln said nothing, when it came time to
name a man as his secretary of war he named Stanton to the post. Then asked
why he chose him he replied that he was the best nan for the job. He treated
Stanton with every courtesy and did nothing to counteract the slurs and the
barbs of this man. Tut the night cane when Mr. Lincoln was felled by the as-
sassins bullet in the theatre. In the little room where the presidents body was
talc en, there stood this same Stanton looking down at the silent face of Lincoln
in nil of its ruggedness, and with tears streaming down his face he said, "There
'lies the greatest ruler of men the world has ever seen." The patience of love
ws. won out. It did not take the repaying of insult with Insult or calling a name
to counteract the name called. To, it was simply quiet, patient love that won
the heart of an enemy. :his is the essence of what Christ was say ing when he
said to love your enemies. Too often the human reaction is to lash out in
retaliation for a wrong committed against us. But we must learn to lash out
with love. One of the popular songs of a short while ago stated, "What the world
needs now is love sweet love, that's the only thing there is just too little of."
/old how true this is today. „e are living in r-n age where a large segment of the
world has forgotten the meaning of love. I'he strange part of it is that many of
the so called Christian leaders are advocates of hatred and violence, in 1963
for instance the national Council of Jiurches met and passed a resolution
stating, ( and this is not the actual quote but a shortened version of it. I
have the quote written down if anyone needs proof..) that if peaceful means does
not produce results then Christians may feel called upon to seek results in
resistance or revolution. Tow if this is the message that Christ spoke then I
believe I am reading the wrong book. He spoke of love, not hatred. ~ T e spoke of
-peace end not war. He spoke of helping one another and not trying to get ahead
of the other fellow by hook or crook. This is the kind of reflection that He
wants us to cast, a reflection of love in all things and in all ways.
shall sing as our lest hymn, »o love that wilt not let me go. ■■
This was written "by Dr. George Matheson otae of Scotland's tetter known preachers.
He became totally blind soon after he entered Glasgow university h-at* he graduated
fhen he was nineteen, and went from there into the ministry. He said he composed
this hymn in a matter of five minutes and it was as though it was dictated to
hin by some inward voice, rather than him working it out himself. But the re-
flection of Christ is there when he states, "C love that wilt not let me go,
I rest my weary soul in thee." And the last verse tells, "0 cross that liftest up
my head, 1 dare not ask to fly from thee; I lay in dust life's glory dead, and
from the ground there blossoms red life that shall endless be. "
Once Christ comes into our lives we have this love that won't let
us go and when we come to the cross of Christ our lives are changed and we
can't escape from His love. At the end of this lifes journey we have endless
life and this is also a reflection from Christ* So you see our entire Christian
life is permeated with this love, this reflection of Christ and we in turn
must cast this reflection to others by the living and giving of ourselves daily.
"In a word there are three things that last for ever: faith, hone and love;
but the greatest of them all is love."